Shark Conservation in Radja Ampat

Shark Conservation in Radja Ampat

On my knees in the shallows patiently waiting for a blacktip to pass while Andy chats to me about the shark fishing problems of the area and his efforts to save them.

In general there are very few sharks left in Radja Ampat and though I saw some wobbegongs, the odd black tip and white tip, local shark conservationist Andy Miners of the Misool Eco Resort, told me that most have been killed by local longliners who continue to catch the remaining few. Andy’s efforts in helping to save sharks has resulted in 425 sq km No-Take Zone since 2006, and at least for this area there is hope of sharks and other marine life having a chance to survive. With funding from WildAid, The Coral Reef Alliance, Precious Planet, and others, the resort has a dedicated patrol vessel and their efforts are showing signs of reward as more little blacktips take shelter in the bay.

“When I first came here there were so few blacktips in our bay, but since we have secured the no take zone they have increased. Yesterday we had 17 pups in the bay.” He explained with a mild tone of satisfaction – the fight to save them is ongoing. And that is what brought me to visit the island that day, hearing about the pups, which I hoped to photograph, only to find a handful while the others were elsewhere, hopefully safe. While visiting the island I discovered that I had just missed seeing my good friend Shawn Heinrich by a few hours, who had just left the island and who has been helping Andy realize his conservation vision for this area of Radja Ampat. The world is small and for now there are only a handful of us fighting the fight but the good news is, we are growing in numbers, strength and impact. Well done to Andy and the paradise I would love to return to, the Misool Eco Resort.

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